We have known it for months. Now it is official. The Prime Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed it will be federal election time in Australia next month as the Liberal/ National coalition tries to repeat their victory of 2016.
Here is everything you need to know about voting if you are a Ballarat resident.
What are the key dates?
Thursday April 11: Election declared and issue of writs (done by the Governor-General for the House of Representatives).
Thursday April 18 at 8pm: Enrolment closes.
Midday April 23: Deadline for candidate nominations
Midday Wednesday April 24: Declaration of nominations
Monday April 29: start of early voting
Wednesday May 15: Applications for postal votes must be received.
Saturday May 18: Election day
On or before Friday June 28: Return of writs
How do I enrol if I haven't already?
This is the most pressing deadline. If you have not already enrolled, you need to do so by 8pm on April 18 - next Thursday in other words.
You can do this online:
Or see here if you need to update any details.
I am not sure my details are right. How do I check?
It's very easy. Simply fill in your details here and you can find out in minutes.
What about pre-polling?
If you want - or need - to get your vote out of the way early, you will have to wait until April 29 to do so.
Negotiations are ongoing to secure the early voting centres and we will update you here when details are available.
You can also submit a postal vote. Here are full details for submitting a postal vote. Applications for a postal vote need to be received by May 15.
If you are likely to be abroad, you can check whether the country you will be in has a consulate.
See here for more details on voting abroad.
Where are polling booths for election day?
There are no details yet of polling booths around the country. Once they are confirmed, we will post details here.
Who do I vote for?
That is, obviously, not for us to say. However, we will keep you updated with news of all the candidates in the build-up to May 18. For a start, read our introduction to everyone we know is contesting the electorate of Ballarat so far. Meet the federal election candidates in Ballarat.
I want to stand myself. How do I do it?
You have until April 23 for a nomination to go in. If you are in Ballarat, make sure you contact The Courier so we can include your details on our list of candidates standing in our electorate. Full details of who can be nominated and how.
Do I have to vote?
Yes. Not that you needed reminding. If you are over 18 and an Australian citizen you are obliged by law to vote, even if you are not in the country. If you don't vote you face a $20 fine.
Can I work to help the election run smoothly?
Yes. The Australian Electoral Commission needs an estimated 80,000 people to work on the day. Find out more here.
Got any other questions?
Head to the AEC website for full details.
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